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Materials Science for Structural Geology sets out the basic materials science needed for understanding the plastic deformation of rocks and minerals. Although at atmospheric pressure or at relatively low environmental pressures, these materials tend to be brittle, that is, to fracture with little prior plastic deformation when non-hydrostatically stressed, they can undergo substantial permanent strain when stressed under environmental conditions of high confining pressure and high temperature, such as occur geologically in the Earth's crust and upper mantle.
Thus the plastic deformation of rocks and minerals is of fundamental interest in structural geology and geodynamics. In mountain-building processes and during convective stirring in the Earth's mantle, rocks can undergo very large amounts of plastic flow, accompanied by substantial changes in microstructure. These changes in microstructure remain in the rocks as evidence of the past deformation history. There are a number of types of physical processes whereby rock and minerals can undergo deformation under geological conditions. The physics of these processes is set out in Materials Science for Structural Geology.
- The Nature of Rocks and Minerals as Materials
- Rate Processes
- Mechanical Fundamentals - Macroscopic
- Deformation Mechanisms - Atomic Transfer Flow
- Deformation Mechanisms - Crystal Plasticity
- Deformation Mechanisms - Granular Flow
Prof. Paterson is a world expert in Mineral deformation. After early research on the fatigue of metals, the author joined the newly established Department of Geophysics of the Australian National University (later named the Research School of Earth Sciences) and pioneered the study of the plastic deformation of rocks there. He established a high-temperature high-pressure laboratory in which he and his students carried out research of international standing. After retirement he became involved in the manufacture and marketing of high-pressure machines for laboratory rock deformation studies and thirteen of these machines were provided to laboratories around the world.